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Free SKYWARN Storm Spotter Training Session Offered in Sevierville

Free SKYWARN Storm Spotter Training Session Offered in Sevierville

People interested in volunteering as a storm spotter for the National Weather Service SKYWARN Program, or those who need to be re-certified, can attend a free storm spotter training session in Sevierville.

The National Weather Service encourages anyone with an interest in public service and access to communication, such the Internet or HAM radio, to join the SKYWARN Storm Spotter Program. Volunteers include police and fire personnel, dispatchers, EMS workers, public utility workers and other concerned private citizens. Individuals affiliated with hospitals, schools, churches, nursing homes or who have a responsibility for protecting others are also encouraged to become a spotter.

The 470 Amateur Radio Group East TN is sponsoring this event. HAM radio operators have a special place in the SKYWARN program. National Weather Service offices have HAM equipment on site. SKYWARN nets run by the volunteer amateur radio net control operators allow for reports to be directly heard at National Weather Service offices.

The SKYWARN training session will be held 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. on Saturday, March 12, 2016 at the King Family Library, 408 High Street in Sevierville, Tenn. Space is limited to 68 class participants and advance registration is required. To register, or for more information, contact Rick Sawaya by email [email protected] or phone (865) 446-4535.

Sevier County, Tenn. is serviced by the Morristown SKYWARN Program.

What is SKYWARN?

SKYWARN is a nationwide network of volunteer storm spotters trained by the National Weather Service to report significant weather. Anyone with an interest in weather is welcome to participate. To become a trained storm spotter, you need to attend a storm training session, offered at various times and places across your local warning area. Find a SKYWARN program in your area.


The National Weather Service’s mission is to protect lives and property with safety being the top priority. When weather conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms or tornadoes to develop, a severe thunderstorm or tornado watch is issued. A severe thunderstorm or tornado warning is issued when severe weather has been reported by a SKYWARN storm spotter or indicated by Doppler radar. SKYWARN volunteers become the eyes and ears of the National Weather Service and local Emergency Management, helping them to provide the public with better weather watch and warning services.

Who will activate SKYWARN?

The National Weather Service and/or the local emergency management authorities may activate the SKYWARN net whenever there is a threat of severe weather or when the agency issues a severe thunderstorm or tornado watch. In this case, information may be relayed through amateur radio repeaters. Localized events may be phoned directly to the National Weather Service and/or local emergency management.

Where will SKYWARN observations be taken?

SKYWARN reports are relayed from on the road, while at work, or at your home. It is important not to jeopardize your own safety by placing yourself in the path of severe weather while participating in SKYWARN.

About Candice Fitzgibbons

I am a Sevier County resident and active in my local community. I've spent more than 20 years as a graphic designer and copywriter, creating marketing materials to help small to medium sized businesses and non-profit organizations achieve their goals. I have a passion for equality, the environment and animal rights.